EU trying to make 'white hat' security tools illegal

Credit: flickr/Ionics –

European Union pushes to stop the sale of hacking tools, law may turn security researchers into criminals.

Not every user of hacking software is a criminal, because researchers and consultants often use the same tools as hackers. How can you test security if you don't use the types of tools that the attackers use? But a pending law in the EU proposes a minimal five year stretch for hacking into a site or running a botnet.

Proponents still need some time to move the law along to a vote, giving security experts time to weigh in. But outlawing Wireshark and perhaps even the command line will catch far more white hat consultants and researchers than criminal hackers. The US may then decide to upgrade penalites in the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to stay in step with the EU, which will hurt security research in the US as well.

Big mistake

If you ban something, then the law-abiding will not have it, but criminals, who by definition ignore and break laws, will also simply break the law to possess the item. Because they are criminals.

CommonSense033 on

I hate this trend of criminalizing the use of tools, just like they wanted to criminalize the use of "circumvention tools" in SOPA

nextparadigms on

Most programming tools would be banned if this law is adopted and taken seriously. Let's think about it. Is perl language a hacking tool? Is a debugger a cracking tool?

dali on

it should be the actual use of those tools against someone else's machine for which you have no permission to access that creates the offence.

jacquesm on


1984 was meant to be a warning, not an instruction manual, Europe.

CommonSense033 on

It's obviously people who are/were forced into this new electronic age kicking & screaming (technophobes) and they are desperate to control it.

LordRuss on

Politicians really are too stupid to handle technologically related issues. They need to hand these sorts of decisions over to bodies of people who actually know what they're doing.

MustBeSaid on


Your friendly government representative: "Yeah, the law more or less says we can lock you up (or even kill you), but we totally promise to not abuse this power."

Chris4362947 on

Firearms kill people by accident. Often. Hacking tools don't kill people. And they rarely hack into a system by accident.

yaix on

guns are not a good example. there is no way i can use a gun for constructive purpose. think of a knife. 99.99% use the knife for good reasons.

snambi on

Remember, with great programming tools comes great responsibility.

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